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Hattie Larlham seeking thrill-seekers for fundraiser

8/7/2014 - West Side Leader
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By Pam Lifke

Participants will rappel 22 stories down side of PNC Center building

DOWNTOWN AKRON — Hattie Larlham is looking for 100 thrill-seeking philanthropists to rappel 22 stories down the side of the PNC Center building in Downtown Akron Aug. 30.

Seventeen intrepid individuals already have met the fundraising goal of $1,500 for “Over the Edge for Hattie Larlham” to support the organization’s programs for children and adults with developmental disabilities, said Communications/Media Relations Coordinator Jackie LoPresti. More than 70 other registrants are doing “pretty well” on their fundraising, she said. And it’s not too late for new registrants to sign up and meet the fundraising goal, she said.

The median age of registrants so far is 37. Among the 17 already qualified for the event are attorneys, company vice presidents, a physical therapist and a father whose daughter receives services from Hattie Larlham, LoPresti said.

Two Hattie Larlham clients, Melissa and CJ, also are set to go “Over the Edge for Hattie Larlham,” LoPresti said. Melissa is sponsored by Phylliss Ulrich, a shareholder/attorney at Carlisle, McNellie, Rini, Kramer & Ulrich Co. LPA. CJ is sponsored by Robert Vadas, president and CEO of Arbor Rehabilitation and Healthcare Service Inc. Both Melissa and CJ work at Hattie’s Café and Gifts.

Hattie Larlham is hoping to reach the maximum number of 100 participants, LoPresti said.

“We’re doing very well with getting people signed up,” she said. “We’re hopeful [we’ll get the maximum]. It’s going to be a great event.”

“Over the Edge” was the brainchild of Hattie Larlham Corporate Relations and Major Gifts Officer Tonnie Alliance, who was looking for a new and different fundraising event for the organization, LoPresti said.

A Canadian special events company — also called Over the Edge — will train and prepare participants the day of the event to rappel down the west face of the PNC Center building, LoPresti said. The west face of the building fronts Cascade Plaza. Over the Edge employs certified industrial rope specialists to work with participants and requires a comprehensive site inspection and safety plan for each event, she added. The company has done several such events across the country, LoPresti said.

Registrants interested in training before the day of the event can practice rappelling skills at Akron General Health & Wellness Centers in Bath, Stow and Green, LoPresti said. The free practice sessions are 7:30 to 9 p.m. Wednesdays and 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Fridays at the wellness centers’ rock climbing walls, she added. Participants will learn how to plant their feet and go down the building’s face, LoPresti said.

If rapelling down the side of a 22-story building isn’t appealing, there are other ways to participate in the event, LoPresti said. In conjunction with the rappelling event, “Over the Edge for Hattie Larlham” will host a two-day street fair, Aug. 29 from noon to 6 p.m. and Aug. 30 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Cascade Plaza in Downtown Akron. The organization is seeking artists and food vendors for the event, LoPresti said. Live music and children’s events also will be part of the street fair, she said. Interested artists and vendors may apply at www.hattielarlham.org and click on “Go Over the Edge for Hattie Larlham.”

Hattie Larlham also is seeking event sponsors and welcomes anyone’s help to promote the event via social media, LoPresti said. In addition, anyone is welcome to help a participant reach his or her fundraising goal LoPresti said. For more information on that, visit the website and click on “Register to go Over the Edge for Hattie Larlham.”

Established in 1961, Hattie Larlham is a Northeast Ohio nonprofit organization that provides services to 1,500 children and adults with developmental disabilities, according to organization officials. For more information, visit the website.

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